How Do You Capture Safety Data?
EP Editorial Staff | June 20, 2018
Consider using work-permit notes, near-miss reports, and project-design reviews to help prevent incidents.
After a safety incident has occurred in a plant, safety data is typically captured through an investigation, root-cause analysis, and/or specific documentation, as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Mine Safety and Health Administration, Washington (OSHA.gov and MSHA.gov, respectively), or other regulations. The data captured during these investigations is used to identify actions that will prevent recurrence of an incident. But what about capturing safety data before incidents occur?
According to information provided by Life Cycle Engineering, Charleston, SC (LCE.com), work permits, near-miss reports, and project-design reviews are rich sources of safety data that can be used to proactively reduce the risk of incidents.
A work permit that requires the person doing the work and an operator to walk through a job site and focus on any safety concerns and actions that will be taken to reduce risks can be a valuable tool. The safety concerns and corrective actions can be captured on the work permit and reviewed to reduce risks on future jobs. Example concerns and actions include:
• Difficult-to-reach and overhead work—build scaffolding platform.
• Standing water in an area where welding is planned—relocate welding equipment and leads away from water.
• Other job in progress above work area, possible tools or parts falling—stagger jobs and provide overhead protection.
• Poor communication between hole watch and personnel in confined space—obtain radios.
Near-miss incidents in industry, i.e., unplanned events that could have caused, but didn’t, human injury, environmental or equipment damage, or disruptions of normal operations, are not uncommon. The numbers of “close calls” emphasize the importance of reporting such incidents. All employees should be encouraged—and feel free—to do so. Collecting and sorting near-miss data can help prioritize efforts to correct unsafe conditions.
Project reviews at the design stage should include maintenance, production, and reliability representatives to help identify safety concerns before the project is built or installed. Access to equipment for maintenance, as well as the ability to isolate equipment, lock out all power sources, and eliminate unnecessary difficult-to-reach locations are some of the details identified during project reviews. Pinpointing unsafe conditions before the project is built or installed can significantly improve safety. EP
For more insight on a wide range of important workplace topics, visit Life Cycle Engineering at LCE.com.